Open up the New York Times and you will see probably the best content written on those pages in many months. The Cato Institute, offended by Barack’s assertion that there is no disagreement on the need for government intervention, decided to take action.
These are some pretty smart moves on his part:
President Barack Obama today issued executive orders and memorandums designed to improve government ethics and make the government more open.
Obama signed an executive order designed to change presidential record-keeping along with another order that sets new ethics restrictions for political appointees and lobbyists.
“I will also hold myself as President to a new standard of openness,” Obama said during a meeting with senior administration staff. “Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
As widely expected, soon after reciting the Presidential Oath (again…), President Barack Obama made good on his commitment to begin the promised transition away from the nation’s current policy of rejecting due process to those the executive administration believe may be involved with terrorist operations against the United States or its allies. The New York Times reports—
In the first hours of his presidency, President Obama directed an immediate halt to the Bush administration’s military commissions system for prosecuting detainees at the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The significance of Barack Obama being the first black man to be elected to the presidency obscures another significant element of American history: the notion that immigrants must succumb to unabashed Americanization in order to be successful. Only one hundred years ago, many Irish immigrants were axing the “O’s” from the beginning of their last name in hopes that they would better assimilate without their Irish heritage. I had a teacher in high school whose ancestors had changed their names from “O’Brannan” to “Brannan” after arriving in America. In the twenty first century, Barack Obama was successfully able to obtain the highest political office in the land without having to abandon his father’s African namesake.
Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say they approve of how Obama is handling the presidential transition. That’s up 2 points from the middle of December and up 5 points from the beginning of December.
The poll also suggests that 68 percent of those questioned are personally “thrilled or happy” that Obama will soon be inaugurated as president, 18 points higher than the way people felt in the days before President Bush’s second inauguration four years ago.
As one of his last acts as President, George W. Bush has commuted the sentences of Ignacios Ramos and Jose Compean, border guards convicted of the shooting of a Mexican drug dealer. Bush has been busy pardoning and commuting sentences in the last couple of months, but there didn’t seem to be any indication that Ramos and Compean would be included in the list that included several people convicted of drug felonies. Perhaps the groundswell of support for the two border guards convinced Bush to change his mind- no doubt, in the minds of their supporters, this act allows the President to end his term on a more positive note.
CBS & the NYT released what will probably be their last Presidential Approval poll for George W. Bush as a sitting President. The results were, well, unsurprising at 22% approval.
(CBS) President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush’s final approval rating at 22 percent.
Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.
Mr. Bush’s final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.
The rating is far below the final ratings of recent two-term presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who both ended their terms with a 68 percent approval rating, according to CBS News polling. - CBS
Hopefully this will be seen as a final indictment on the evil ideology that is neoconservativism, though I do readily expect them to work their way back into positions of power after a few years of laying low.
In case you missed it, George Will wrote a great column on December 21, titled “The Final Blow Against Congress” in which he shows how superfluous Congress has become in the age of presidents who prefer to govern without constraint of any sort.
Of course, our Founding Fathers wanted Congress to be the strongest branch of government—that’s why they gave them the “power of the purse” (the right to coin money, raise taxes, and spend money).
Will condemned President Bush for completely snubbing the clear will of Congress in rejecting the “Big 3” auto-manufacturer’s bailout. Not only did President Bush ignore Congress’s authority, but he thought their $14 billion proposal was too skimpy. So he authorized $17 billion from the $700 billion bailout package previously passed by Congress to be spent on the failing US auto industry.
A variant edition (which means an alternative cover, as opposed to the normal newsstand one) of The Amazing Spider-Man #583 will be available January 14. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the artist actually drew President-elect Obama to look like the real thing, absent more than a few gray hairs.
For those that would like to see a resurgent Republican Party that harkens back to its small government ideals, don’t hold your breath. Mike Duncan, the current RNC chair, is among the six candidates for the seat. He’s still showing a large level of incompetence:
But Duncan has been emboldened by post-Election Day victories in congressional runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana, giving him a clear message: The party was defeated by an unusually strong Obama organization and appeal that cannot be replicated.
“Obama was a phenomenon,” Duncan said in an interview. “We know how to win elections.”